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WWE Clash of Champions is billed as the one night of the year that every title on Raw and SmackDown must be defended, so WWE has spent the past few weeks organizing all the feuds that made up Sunday’s card.
One of the biggest matches of the night saw Roman Reigns take on his cousin, Jey Uso. Was the healthy twin able to take down his own family to win the universal title or did The Big Dog prove his bite is as bad as his bark?
The WWE championship was also at stake in a SummerSlam rematch when Randy Orton took on Drew McIntyre.
We also saw a scale match with Sami Zayn, AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy, while Zelina Vega got her first chance to win a title when she fought Asuka, and The Hurt Business̵
However, Charly Caruso announced during the pre-show that Nikki Cross, Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax were not medically allowed to compete.
Let’s take a look at everything that happened at Sunday’s Clash of Champions.
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Here is the updated lineup for Clash of Champions:
- Asuka vs. Zelina Vega (SmackDown Women’s Championship)
- Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship)
- Roman Reigns vs Jey Uso (Universal Championship)
- Cesaro and Nakamura vs Lucha House Party (SmackDown Tag Team Championships)
- Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn (Intercontinental League)
- The Street Profits vs Andrade and Angel Garza (Raw Tag Team Championships)
- Bobby Lashley vs. Apollo Crews (United States Championships)
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Cesaro started against Lince Dorado. Swiss Cyborg took control for a moment using his power to his advantage. Once Kalisto got the tag, he took over with a big thud from Dorado’s shoulder.
Nakamura eventually for the tag and regained the upper hand with some well-placed shots. He and Cesaro quickly began creating tags to keep Dorado cornered and keep cool.
The Golden Lynx tried to turn things around with a sunset bomb, but a quick kick from Cesaro knocked him down for a near fall. The champions have been in control for quite some time. Dorado kept kicking but it took him a little longer to kick out with each cover.
Kalisto created the hot tag and with a little help from Dorado, they were able to send both men to the ground. Dorado helped Kalisto hit a DDT tornado on the floor before they took turns with moon strikes on Cesaro. Big Tony left the house at two and prevented Kalisto from doing another tag.
Nakamura attacked Dorado and surprised him beyond the barricade. This allowed the champions to collaborate with Kalisto. Cesaro took Kalisto to Nakamura Kinshasa to get the pin and keep the SmackDown tag titles.
This was a fun and energetic tag match to kickstart the action. Some of Kalisto and Dorado’s double team moves were memorable and impressive.
Nakamura and Cesaro continue to shine as a team at a time when the tag team division appears to be at a low point. They never give less than 100% when in the ring.
We haven’t had a big fight between Kalisto and Dorado or a breaking point, so WWE has to keep that aside for SmackDown.
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Zayn talked a little bit about junk to make things work. Styles fired the first few shots at him, but it was Hardy who cornered both men and took control with a clothesline and bulldog combination. He tried to carry the first ladder but Styles hit a baseball slide to send him in the ribs.
Zayn hit his signature moon jump with the springboard on the floor before grabbing the ladder and throwing it at Hardy. The Phenomenal One and The Charismatic Enigma recovered and started fighting in the ring. Hardy ended up missing Styles with a leap from the corner and hit the ribs on the supports of an overturned ladder.
Styles was the first to attempt to chase the belts hanging over the ring, but Zayn was there to pull him back. He took out the great liberator with a furry kick. Hardy prevented Styles from getting to the belts as they fought at the top of the ladder. Hardy crashed to the mat but was able to get up and stop Styles from reaching the top.
Zayn sent Styles up a ladder with an explosive suplex. All three men ended up at ringside and after a brief scuffle, Zayn was the last man standing. He slowly climbed the ladder until Styles threw a ladder at him to make him fall. Styles and Hardy climbed on opposite sides of the ladder and ended up tipping over to take both men out.
The Enigma took out both opponents at the same time when it pushed over the ladder to knock out Zayn and take out Styles in mid-air while attempting a phenomenal Forearm. Hardy fell to the ground when Zayn overturned the ladder he was standing on. Zayn used a ladder to make a bridge between the ring and the announcement table. Styles pestered him with a DDT from the table.
Hardy put Zayn on the deck and climbed a different ladder. He hit a Swanton which took out Zayn and broke the ladder in half. Styles was all alone as he prepared another straight in the ring. He started climbing and Hardy managed to get into the ring in time to push him off the ladder.
Zayn used a pair of handcuffs to attach Hardy’s ear to a ladder outside the ring. He tried to handcuff Styles to a loop rope, but The Phenomenal One didn’t let that happen. Zayn ended up handcuffing Styles to keep him from climbing the ladder. It was a brilliant tactic
Hardy dragged the ladder into the ring holding him by the ear as Styles tried to climb up with Zayn on his shoulders. The Liberator produced a key to unlock and handcuffed Styles to the ladder. Zayn climbed the ladder and broke both belts to become the legitimate IC champion.
Grade: A +
Was this the best Ladder match of all time? Maybe not, but he will definitely be a contender for WWE’s Match of the Year.
All three contestants gave no less than 100% to make this a show stealing performance. They are on a fanless Level B PPV in the arena and have been fighting like they were in the main WrestleMania event in front of thousands of screaming fans.
Hardy was his usual risk taker and gave us a few extra moments to add to his eventual Hall of Fame highlight, as did Zayn and Styles.
In fact, this bout had some of the most creative points we’ve seen in a Ladder match in quite some time. This was a fantastic all-round performance from all involved.